Vibram’s FiveFingers For My Aging Ten Toes

Vibram's FiveFingers For My Ten Toes

I always come back from my visits to the US with things I think I cannot live without such as my favorite peanut butter, hair gel, and protein bars, but this time I added a new pair of shoes that my friend Jules told me about recently. You may remember that I have been experiencing some fairly major aches and pains that I had  been attributing to my aging baby boomer body and years of long distance running.

As much as I haven’t want to admit it, my low back and knees hurt most days and even more when I run a lot or do the five or six-hour coast path walks that John and I love so much. Usually, I just suck it up and drive on as we used to say when I was in the army and eat a couple more Tylenol than I would regularly, but after hearing about these shoes and how they might make a difference, I thought I would give Vibram’s FiveFingers a try.

Yesterday, I slept more in one day than I normally do over a three-day period as I had a wicked and unusual case of jet lag but I did manage to make it to the supermarket with John and wore my new shoes out for the first time. While you can buy these in the UK, I have not seen any on feet around here and from some of the looks I received I don’t think they’ve made the Cornwall scene in any great numbers yet.

I am giving myself one more day to settle in before I hit the ground running (literally) with my running buddy Tina on Saturday. If these new shoes can help slow down my aches and pains while speeding up my feet, I’m sure Tina will appreciate my increased mobility.

I’ll get back you on my transition from Nike’s to FiveFingers in a few weeks along with any comments worth repeating. So far the prevailing one from several people who know me has been, ” So you got those in America, did you? ” John however, has been quite supportive of my new footwear finding the different looking shoes an interesting idea for improving my mood and mobility, but remains slightly amused at being seen with a woman wearing as he puts it, “Shoes that look like black monkey feet.”

What Remains The Same

Elizabeth Harper – Athens, Greece – Summer 1981

Yes … that’s me. This image came from an old slide from my army days, one of many that I’ve been moving from place to place for years. With twenty-one just around the corner, this younger, thinner version of me thought she knew a few things about life and while I’d had some experiences by then that most of my friends from high school had not, like breaking down an M-16 rifle in the dark, or leaving home at eighteen for my first military assignment in Germany, I was clearly not rocking the world with my fashion sense.

I mean, really …what was I thinking with that tight curly perm and if that wasn’t bad enough, how in the world did I think it was okay to go out in public wearing those cutoff short shorts! That sock-less running shoe look while not pretty kept me from getting blisters when I ran my first marathon in those bright yellow Nikes and I was still wearing Nikes twenty-six years later when I ran my second one.

These days, I wear my shorts a good bit longer and I ditched the perms twenty years ago, but check out that camera I have hanging around my neck … most of us change a great many things through the years such as behaviors that are no longer useful, bad hair styles, career choices, and sometimes husbands and partners, but there are some parts of us that are with us for the duration and central to the core of who we are no matter where we’re standing or what direction we may be looking.

I bet you don’t need three guesses to know what remains constant for me. It’s there in almost every photograph whether it’s around my neck, hanging off my shoulder, or in my hand, a camera of some kind is always with me and while not exactly a fashion accessory, it appears now it is has become a necessory item for completing my look. How about you, is there something about you that people have come to expect will be there, always the same whenever they see you?

Elizabeth Harper – Cornwall, England – Summer 2008